At the gym where I workout a lady named Connie works behind the counter, she used to own a Curves gym and was telling me about a customer that followed her to our gym that lost over 200 lbs!
So I looked into this gym that has so many success stories to see how it began. Also an interesting startup!
Gary Heavin, from Texas, lost his mother at 13 and life was difficult. Gary states, “As a teenager, I had the problem of a father and stepmother that didn’t really want us. I left home at a really young age. Being self-sufficient and being focused on survival by the age of 26, I had six health clubs and a million-dollar financial statement.”
However, 4 years later he was bankrupt and lost everything he owned, cars, plane, houses, and his wife and children moved on. So as he says, he literally had nothing left.
Next, he gave his life to God with this quote, “God, I lived the first half of my life by my will and it’s a mess. I’m going to turn the rest of my life over to You.”
Apparently he made these changes while in jail for failure to pay child support. According to Gary, after having all these things, then nothing, and jail… this, like he says, is beyond the bottom.
All his decisions were based on God’s will from then on. He met and married his current wife Diane who said, “We had to start from probably worse than scratch, a brand-new start, and it was very tough, but God gave us the strength.”
In 1992 they opened their first Curves Fitness Center in Harlingen, TX. I’m guessing here they had some help financially but based on Gary’s prior experience he may have been a good bet. Even though his original business venture failed, I’m sure his new plans were pretty strong!
With their combined knowledge and skills Gary and Diane took this very successful concept to it’s first franchise in 1995. Curves reached an amazing 1,000 franchises in 5 years! That’s fast! On their 10 year anniversary from the first Curves there were 9,000!
Today Curves has served over 4 million women in 80 countries and at one time a new Curves opened every four hours! Diane started a magazine (diane) for Curves women that has a circulation of 1.4 million. In 2004 Curves was the fastest growing franchise of all times, the 10th largest franchise in the world, and the 1st largest fitness franchise. That’s amazing in 10 years! This from a man who lost everything, found God, changed himself from the inside out first, then went after his dreams based on God’s direction, not his own.
Gary: “One of the great resources that I drew upon in those early years was Pat’s (Robertson) book The Secret Kingdom. Even today I talk about those biblical principles that I had placed as the foundation of my business and can attribute those principles as the key to our success. One of those principles is the law of integrity. What does that mean? You tell people the truth. And the law of unity, you can’t have unity without integrity, but if people can count on what you say, they can believe in you and you can work together. Today we have over 5,000 franchises. Together we are meeting the needs of over 2 million women. That’s the power of unity.”
It’s a great story rising from the bottom to the top, from the inside out, and about Faith! Till next time, God Bless,